At least one independent Senator believes that Government should honour the wishes of the minority who have opposed its debt restructuring programme.
Reverend Michael Maxwell made the call while speaking in Senate this afternoon during debate on the Debt Holder (Approval of Debt Restructuring) Bill 2018.
Maxwell said while he understood an overwhelming majority of domestic creditors had agreed with Government’s plans to delay payment of both principal and interest, he said the ten per cent of persons who opposed the move should be compensated as per the contractual agreement.
“We are now seeking to pass a Bill which will take away their contractual rights to take away their monies due to them at the time that was stated within the original instrument. It takes away some of the terms of agreement under which they would have entered faithfully that contract and I have serious problems with that.”
Maxwell said he admired the patriotism of the 90 per cent of those who agreed with Government but said not everyone could afford that sacrifice.
“The caring Government should never assume that everyone has the means or the wherewithal to go without their investment for the next year or so.”
The Senator said the delayed payment could possibly lead to the forfeiture of property or monies to banks, as persons who were depending on that money struggled to make ends meet.
He also said that while he saw the importance of government’s debt restructuring programme, there needed to be balance.
“As naive or as simplistic as this may sound, my position is that persons’ freedom of choice should not be taken away in this regard in relation to money promised and owed to them. As much as we may believe that it is for the greater good, in my opinion it is the moral obligation of any borrower, including the Government, to pay its debt when it is due, unless of course the investor or the loaner freely consents to some other debt restructuring instrument.” Maxwell said.